becoming an ocean girl, one surf at a time.

i have never been an ocean girl. i grew up heading north for summer getaways. to an oasis that i always considered better than any pacific or atlantic coastline. i waterskied and wakeboarded. i swung from rope swings into icy waves rolling onto forested beaches. i had never seen point break, and the words kelly and slater were just characters from saved by the bell.

sure i’ve always idolized the blue crush chicks and dreamed about the day when i would look as cool in a bikini, but i accepted long ago that yoga pants and sports bras might be more my style.

but adventure breeds adventure.

you submit to the mountains, and suddenly you hear the sea calling.

so i went.

IMG_6450

if we wait for the volume to get louder, sometimes we miss the message and go deaf instead.

a month of attempting to become that ocean girl.

waking up early and walking down to the beach. the air was often cool in the morning, before the summer sun rose over the tree line and burnt through the clouds. the streets were quiet, which meant a less dusty stroll from the hilltop to the shore.

nose to tail, rail to rail, waxing up with intermittent coffee sips. then heading to the sea with a zinc nose and bikini clad body.

unsure of the ocean’s rhythm, i sat on some driftwood and watched the locals pick their waves. it takes time. to read the water. to feel the pulse. to understand the power.

after a month, i was just starting to sense the unspoken words she was saying.

shuffle through the shallow sand with board in hand. the water is warm. a big set rolls in and quickly reminds me, this is the ocean. full of salt. a mouth full of salt.

i often forget. i walk into a giant body of water and just assume it will taste like lake michigan. here it tastes like tears and sweat. it dries a thin layer of seasoning on your skin. it clears out your sinuses with every accidentally inhale and leaves your eyes softly burning.

will i ever learn to love that feeling?

paddle paddle paddle past the break. then i always need a rest. legs dangling straddled on either side of this floating extension of self. sting rays, fish, and a whole world living beneath you. each trying to remain unaware of the other.

for most surfers, satisfaction comes from catching the wave. but what about this moment? this special space where you are peacefully waiting to see what gift she will give you. looking out over the horizon tuning into her rhythm. the sun warming your skin. the salt drying on your lips. i could wait there all day.

but when you sense something good rolling in, it’s time to move on. paddle paddle paddle paddle and pop up. turning down the face and staying just ahead of the break. letting your legs inform the movements. splashing back into the waves with the biggest shit grin plastered across your face.

or maybe not.

paddle paddle paddle paddle and pop up. get slammed into the tumbling circle of angry h2o that has no care for your well-being. breath held and body avoiding injury. panicking to surface and find safety, if only for a split second.

her beauty only intensifying as you slowly swim back out for round two.

i will always be a lake girl, but the sea has left its mark. found its way into my soul. testing the limits of my fear. reminding me that i am powerless.

Advertisements

12 reasons you should never date a rock climber

Another Matador Network article of mine to enjoy…

IF YOU HAVE AN OUNCE OF ADVENTURER in you, you’ve probably felt the pull of the muscled rock climber parking their van next to you at the campsite. But, if you truly have any ounce of sense in you, you’ve learned why to stay away:

1. A “10 Year Plan” is not a thing.

Neither is a Five Year Plan, or even a One Year Plan for that matter. Unless you’re talking about which routes or problems they plan to send this season, most climbers have no clue what the future holds. All they know is that they are oh-so-close to finally finishing Twinkie, so you’ll most likely find them in the Red River Gorge this spring.

2. There is only one thing they’ll splurge on: new gear.

If you’ve got your eye on a partner who will treat you to fancy dinners and expensive gifts, you might want to rule out climbers. To them, a nice meal involves concocting a unique mix of whatever treasures were scored during the last dumpster diving excursion to Kroger. But don’t confuse this thriftiness with necessity — they are probably just saving up for a new pair of La Sportiva Solutions and a set of C3s.

3. Words and numbers have never felt so foreign (and vulgar) to you.

“Did you stick the crux on the roof of Hillbilly Gang Bang*? You really gotta shove a hand in the crack. There’s no way it’s a 5.12d.” Climbers have their own lingo and unless you plan on double backing your harness and learning to tie in properly, good luck understanding them. One of these YouTube videos might help.

*We know this is not the real name of a climb, but just for the record, Hilbilly Sex Farm is.

4. Showering becomes a luxury.

Two weeks without a shower? Pretty standard. Don’t think for one minute that the state you met them in will ever change. Greasy hair, dirty clothes, and that unmistakable climber musk are all points of pride. Learn to love it.

5. And so does a bed.

Dating a climber means getting used to the fact that most of your nights together will be spent without freshly-washed sheets stretched across an expensive Sealy posturepedic. Instead, you’ll find yourself snuggled uncomfortably upon a couple of Therm-a-Rests, or if you’re lucky, an old futon mattress thrown across some plywood in the back of their van.

CLICK HERE TO READ ALL 12 REASONS!

 

when you move to australia.

Have you been keeping up on all my matador network articles? Check out my latest and be sure to share them with all your friends and family! 🙂

13 THINGS THAT INEVITABLY HAPPEN WHEN YOU MOVE TO AUSTRALIA

1. Most of your income goes towards beer.

The rumors are true. Australians love their beer. Unfortunately, it’s also true that shit is way more expensive on their massive island. Remember the good old days (before you lived in Australia) when you could get a 30-pack of PBR from the local liquor mart for under $20? Those days are long gone. Add a beer category to your monthly budget because $50 for a carton is bound to take its toll on your bottom line.

2. You miss the sound of geckos when you travel.

To answer your first question, yes, geckos make sounds. You immediately learn this fact when trying to fall asleep in your newly-renovated Queenslander. Chirp chirp chirp. At first, you are disgusted that tiny lizards wander in and out of your house as they please, but after a while, they sound like home.

Read the full article.

See all my articles here.

thanks to my half of the world.

you don’t realize something is missing until finding it changes everything.

i have spent the past six weeks jet-setting around america trying to define who i am to the man i love. days jam-packed with people and places that felt crucial to understanding me.

it is weird to date someone for a year and never have them meet your friends and family. never have them see the town you call home. never have them know what your memories look like. especially for someone like me. a person whose everything is the people that surround her.

week in los angeles.
thanksgiving in chicagoland.
few days in grand rapids.
quick tour of ann arbor.
couple hours in detroit.
back to chicagoland.
adventures with mutual friends in san diego.
week in portland.
snowboarding vacation in aspen and steamboat springs.
overnight in boulder.
back to chicagoland for christmas part one (including bears and hawks games)
day trip to janesville.
back to chicagoland for christmas part two.
and new year’s with his family in honolulu.

yes, we’re tired. no, we didn’t get to see everyone. i missed nashville and west virgina and new york and some chicagoans. some best friends only got a quick meal. and some spaces only got a quick minute.

but i feel better. i feel immensely better. i feel even better than i thought i would.

my two worlds finally collided, and they still fit together. they seem to fit together even more. every face has a name. every story has its space.

when you love someone, you want so badly for them to be a part of it all. to know the awesomeness of your childhood home. to know the hilarity that is your family dinners. to know the love you feel for the people you (hypothetically) call besties.

and now you know.
and i love you more.

maybe more is the wrong word. but i just feel complete. a more complete reflection of myself, of the life i lived, the love that made me who i am.

excuse my outpouring of emotion, but that’s what’s going on today. and lots of it.

the six weeks leading up to the new year were filled with so many of my favorite faces. i am grateful for each and every one of them. for the amazing family that i’m proud to call mine. for the faux families who have adopted me into their lives. for the long distance friendships who made time for a coffee. for the endless amounts of free guest rooms, couches, and floors that continuously give me a home. who knew showing someone else around my world would make me appreciate it that much more.

enjoy your new year. do something epic. then write me a letter about it.

if you need me, i’ll be sleeping in a costa rican hammock for a couple of months to recover from 2014. come visit. i’ll return the favor and let you sleep on my couch…

making hope a habit.

a friend from middle school recently got married in chicago. the event (along with a need for some random odds and ends) sent me to my 5×5 storage unit in illinois and deep into my two rubbermaid bins full of photographs. 4×6 images meticulously sorted into small manilla envelopes labeled and dated. endless prints from school dances, vacations, sleepovers, and unforgettable memories temporarily forgotten.

as i was searching for a couple photos of the bride and i together in our youth, i stumbled upon my old modeling portfolio. i don’t know if it was my idea or my mother’s, but at age six, i spent a day with photographer george papadakis sporting curls and polkadots and a pout that was surely put to good use in those early childhood years. a star was being born.

IMG_5206

along with the excitement of getting professional composite cards made, my mom also enrolled me in barbizon modeling academy where they attempted to teach me some manners (and some modeling/acting pointers of course). as i walked across that stage on graduation day in my black floral one piece pants suit (complete with white dress shirt collar) and black chauffeur hat covering my twin french braids, i was bound and determined to become famous. i was sure that there was someone sitting in the audience who would hear my jif peanut butter commercial read through and hire me on the spot.

apparently, that’s not how it works.

instead, i spent endless days getting out of school early and driving the hour to chicago to audition for some random role. an easter fashion show for sears. a hand model for a children’s craft book. an extra for a company employee training video. sometimes i would get the part and sometimes i wouldn’t.

as i sat sprawled out on the pavement near the door of my storage unit, i flipped through all these images of my younger self and stumbled upon my big claim to fame.

it was a national ad campaign for gateway foundation. my photograph was used in their brochures, newspaper ads, billboards, and more.

now what is gateway foundation you ask? maybe, i’ll just let the pieces i found speak for themselves:

IMG_5204

IMG_5205

mom, seriously? you let me be the poster child for a drug rehab center at ten years old?! i hope you got some good money out of that one. i don’t recall ever seeing a cent of my earnings, but after the expense of my dance and college education, i will not hold a grudge. you’re welcome.

and on a more important note, mom, seriously? you let me rock a perm on a short bob with bangs?! i don’t think the 90s did anyone any favors when it comes to fashion.

despite all this, i am pretty sure that i had that pout mastered. totally look like a sad, drug-abusing adolescent. i wonder if all the people driving by the billboard in chicago bought into my anguish. if they could feel the hurt i felt deep within my ten year old heart.

and now, look where i am 18 years later… not on the cover of vogue, that’s for sure. wonder what it feels like to peak at 10 years old? let me tell you, it rocks. when you know your best work is behind you, you are free to revel in the downward progression of your glory years.

don’t worry though, i’ve helped “make hope a habit.”

(sorry for this seriously sarcastic post. i just had to share these priceless images.)

television coworkers.

the experts say you have to write everyday. sadly, between my work writing, journal writing, letter writing, email writing, social media writing, and imessage writing, my blog writing seems to have lost its title of champion. i have a list of topics that i think of in the moment, jot down to come back to, then return to them thinking: what the heck was i planning to write about this?

this morning i was tempted to delete the whole list and start anew, vowing to always sit down and write the dang story when it pops into my head. but alas, there are some gems in the list, so i figured i’d better just pick one of the random ones for now and get on with it already.

i’ve been back in the midwest for almost two months. away from australia and catching back up with my life. of course, doing so always involves explaining what i have actually been doing down under.

it is an explanation that has led me to some startling discovers about myself. namely, my extreme need for human interaction.

i get it now. the need for companions. working in an empty house is not for me. i need others. they don’t even need to be friends. strangers in coffee shops will work. travelers rushing to catch their flights in a crowded airport hallway will work. anyone will work. i sit in my home office, alone, in the middle of a small desert mining town where everyone else is on the job 12 hours a day, leaving me to fend for myself when it comes to entertainment.

daytime television all makes sense to me now.

studio 10’s morning band of hooligans were my gang each morning as i ate breakfast and started work on my laptop in my pajamas.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.33.35 AM

the term coworkers doesn’t mean they have to be physically in your presence right? they were working. i was working. therefore, we were coworking. and coworkers.

when you’ve reached this state in life, every character of every major television series you watch starts to be your friend. the crappiest soap opera becomes your lifeline. something you know. something comfortable. a cast of friends to keep you company while alone for endless hours.

television takes on the meaningful role of human interaction in a town desolate of places to sit with strangers. places with a proper seat, electricity, and wifi don’t really exist. so i have to work from home…everyday…all day. i am not complaining about the ability to work from home. we all want that. i love that and am very grateful. but when you have to work from home, it’s just like having to work from an office.

i have watched more television in my time in port hedland than in the past several years of my life. it is the first time i have even owned a television since 2009.

it’s crazy to me. but it makes sense to me. i am not a hermit. i like my alone time, but usually only when i am writing or painting or reading. all other moments of my life are traditionally filled with activity and people. people i know. people i don’t know. people i want to know, but don’t.

yes there are those people in the desert, don’t get me wrong. i understand that i could leave the house and seek out some faces to fill my social quota, but i do actually have to get my work done once in awhile. i can’t be going to hang out at the yacht club or ymca for hours on end soaking in one human interaction after another. i need people while i work.

and so i have developed a new gratitude for public spaces. generous clients with extra desks and spacious libraries and bustling coffee shops and random parks with wifi, you are a gift to us officeless entrepreneurs. you are the reason i stay sane. i cannot wait until you find your way to small australian desert mining towns. or i find my way back to you.

but i am also grateful for my television coworkers. their stories unfolding in an one-sided, effortless conversation as i click clack away on my keyboard. without you, i would probably do so much more with my time. yet, i am still glad you are my friends. see you in a couple weeks as i return to the summer desert heat for a couple more months of love.

perfect shantytown.

I wrote a new blog for Portland Rock Gym:

How to build the perfect shantytown (aka long term camping set-up)

So you’ve found yourself the ultimate project and are dedicated to whatever it takes to send it. Days, weeks, months pass by, and you’re still putting in attempt after attempt to show that rock who’s boss. Meanwhile, memories of your soft bed, hot shower, and full kitchen creep in and out of your mind while refueling on Nutella and stale bagels.

Now, if you’re one of those climbers with a pimped out RV or van, fine, you might still have those luxuries tucked away in the parking lot waiting for your return, but for those of us still rocking the old Chevy Cavalier our parents hooked us up with on our 16th birthdays, you might be ready to pack it in and find the closest motel when the going gets rough.

1384011_10103186304392273_2071006798_n

However, there is one way to ensure you maintain your sanity while choosing to kick it Huckleberry Finn style, and that is building the perfect shantytown (aka long term camping set-up) from day one. Here are the most important things to keep in mind when crafting your home away from home:

Location! Location! Location!

Finding the most beneficial location is the key to any successful shantytown. Once everything is set up, you are definitely going to be irked to discover that rain drains straight into your tent. Just like architects dedicate large efforts to their blueprints, you need to pre-plan and think through the setup of your shantytown. Every mistake will cost you in the long run.

Things to look for when scouting out your location:

  1. Trees: Trees are great for acting as anchor points for your structure. They also provide amazing shelter from the elements. However, try to avoid setting up under old ones that might drop branches and such on you, as well as ones with tons of birds roosting in them (for obvious reasons). You want your trees to be strong and sturdy. Endangered, fragile trees could greatly suffer from your structure, so respect the environment and choose trees that can handle it.
  2. Land: As mentioned above, you don’t want to end up sleeping in a swamp, so surveying the lay of the land is essential in choosing your location. Pick a spot that slopes at a slight angle and set up near the high point. Also, you might want to take into account where you are in relation to the sun. If you don’t appreciate waking up at sunrise, try to place your tent somewhere that remains shady until a decent hour of the day. On the flip side, if you’re in a cold location, be sure to keep your tent in the sun as long as you can.
  3. Sound: Are you the loud and rowdy group who stays up late laughing around the campfire until 2am? Are you the eager beaver group who heads to sleep early and is first to the crag at sunrise? Are you the family with two young children who get night terrors? All of these are awesome, but know which one you are and embrace it. Don’t set up next to a family if you plan to party all night. Don’t set up next to a site that has empty beer bottles everywhere if you want to go to sleep at sunset.
  4. Proximity: Take into account your surroundings and needs. Are there bathrooms available at your location? If so, consider how important it is to you to be close to them. How far are you from the crag? Do you want to be in isolation or closer to a town? Sometimes you don’t have very many options, but if you do, think about what will make your long term stay the most enjoyable.

Click here to continue reading the rest of the blog post! There’s lots more to go…

block broken.

i haven’t written a blog post since i arrived in australia. i haven’t really written anything. i think about writing a lot. the classic syndrome of a block. i have ideas, and then they fade away before i can capture them into letters. but last night i made a list.

  1. wake up
  2. drink glass of water
  3. drink glass of cranberry juice
  4. do oak tree meditation
  5. write a blog post

and so, here i am. after adding “make a smoothie” right before #4, i am at my computer pulling faces because for some reason i decided to add way too much beet to my smoothie. and it was canned. bad decision. i have learned my lesson, but i am still going to force myself to drink it. just like i am forcing myself to write.

since i sat down at my computer 20 minutes ago, i have already delayed writing by checking emails, doing some stupid survey to get bonus southwest rapid rewards points, and googling the benefits of beets. if i have to stomach this smoothie, it better be good for me. turns out it has several benefits:

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 9.52.39 AM

natural viagra eh? i am just feeling slightly queasy and dry in the mouth. maybe those are part of the listed side effects.

the she & him pandora channel is providing a nice soundtrack to this aimless stint of word-smithing. but that is what they tell you to do. they always tell you to just write. no matter what comes out, just the act of writing will help end your vacation away.

i remember getting really attached to a book called writing down the bones: freeing the writer within by natalie goldberg during my freshman year of college. here was this relatively short collection of chapters that was speaking directly to me. the writer within me. i’m pretty sure everyone who likes to write has probably read the book at some point in their life.

“keep your hand moving.”

i remember reading that somewhere in those pages.

and so that is what i am doing. and while you are reading this, you should probably follow a similar bit of advice…keep the eyes moving, quickly. don’t dwell on this blog post. there is nothing profound hiding in its folds.

there is another passage from that book that i recently recalled (of course i googled it, so you can read the real version and not my paraphrased sara interpretation):

“We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter…Recording the details of our lives is a stance against bombs with their mass ability to kill, against too much speed and efficiency. A writer must say yes to life, to all of life: the water glasses, the Kemp’s half-and-half, the ketchup on the counter. It is not a writer’s task to say, ‘It is dumb to live in a small town or to eat in a café when you can eat macrobiotic at home.’ Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist – the real truth of who we are: several pounds overweight, the gray, cold street outside, the Christmas tinsel in the showcase, the Jewish writer in the orange booth across from her blond friend who has black children. We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.”

i am in that small town.

and it stilled my words because i thought i had nothing more to say about it.

but truly, i have embraced the desert this time around. i looked around and found things to do.

i took life into my own hands while alone at home all day. signed up for a dinghy sailing course and afterwards joined the yacht club. i even have plans to partake in their upcoming regatta.

10489624_10152957943079676_3486469562634040047_n

headed back into the bush of karajini national park on friday the 13th under a full moon to run through gorges, swim a lap across an ice cold pool of crystal clear water, and stay up celebrating ol’ smokey brods turning 28. we even ran into a family of scary zombies…

10450753_529099697218097_6526553368310442223_n

met up with a couple of women retraining ex-race horses. spent the evening riding three different horses with three very different personalities as the red pilabra dust filled every single pore on my body, and the sun set bright red and pink and orange into the horizon.

sat outside under an umbrella and enjoyed a sunday morning brunch with my partner in crime at the silver star cafe, an old train car turned restaurant. a staple in the port hedland dining circuit.

Silver_Star_Cafe,_Port_Hedland,_exterior,_2012_(3)

cooked proper meals that surprise even me. and yes, i’ve documented almost every single on of them. you can find that on my instagram, but here’s just one:

10353119_10103906002596303_8314087899698723753_n

stretched and breathed with the only yoga teacher in town who teaches one class per week about 20 minutes away from our house. and strengthened and toned with the one quality cross-training gym in south hedland.

so why do i feel like i have nothing to say?

my task as a writer “is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist.”

i spend all day alone in my home office trying to tackle the never-ending list of projects due to clients thousands of miles away. looking out at the big, fruit-barren mango tree through my calcium coated window, i miss my coffee shops and co-working spaces.

but this is the real of now. long days of work and short bursts of play. it’s not forever. and when it does get lonely, i find solace in online shopping for proper attire for the upcoming horse races (best dressed wins $1,000) and belting out my best renditions of broadway and disney musicals while chipping away at my to-do list. defying gravity has never sounded so good.

HOLY YES!

stationary one day.

forty-two days stationary in springtime. cherry blossom petals snowing upon stationary windshields. taking up residency in a stationary space filled with cook books, stained rugs, fresh urban eggs, and tabby cat hair upon my faded white down comforter. past rituals quickly re-emerged calming my spiraling self into stationary settlement.

forty-two days of stacked schedules layering dance on top of yoga on top of cross fit on top of climbing on top of work/trade massage on top of work/trade facials on top of work on top of friends on top of church on top of sleep on top of baths. a seemingly endless list of layers that gladly replaced the translucent wash of travel that tints my usual existence.

a pause with purpose.

i returned from australia at the end of february intentionally ready to reacquaint myself with myself. after two years of bouncing from place to place, the emotional unsettlement of drifting was creeping into my throat, coating it like a dairy-induced phlegm impossible to swallow away.

instead of allowing it to overthrow my carefully crafted balance, i gave into it. i paid more money than i would have liked to secure a house. a space to call my own for the month of april. to sort through my belongings without undesired distraction and regroup before packing it all back into a 5’x7’ cube.

as i clicked the lock closed on my downtown portland storage unit and finalized the cross-country shipment of my car back to the loving care of family members this past week, the excitement butterflies began brewing deep in between my belly and chest. that space right below the xyphoid process that seems to be a big gaping hole waiting for substance. fluttering feelings bursting out of their safe cocoons joined that irksome lump looming in my throat.

i wait for one to dissolve the other, but the excitement of nomading just stands alongside the belonging of consistent community. two contradicting ideals hovering in the same space trying to capture a unanimously desired sense of calm.

i’m pretty sure this is what your twenties are all about. swimming through the contradictions of your wavering fantasies of what life will eventually be like…one day.

one day…i’ll have a physical home with furniture that i didn’t put together myself named words i can’t pronounce.

one day…i’ll know my neighbors by name and share my sugar with them.

one day…i’ll be able to walk to the farmer’s market and smile at the same farmers week after week.

one day…but that day is not today.

it’s been four days since i wrote the above on the airplane from denver to los angeles, and after spending the weekend enjoying the company of friends who have already achieved their “one days,” i am ready to board an airplane back to my today and sacrifice tomorrow for wide open sun kissed arms with calloused hands and dirty fingernails anxiously waiting to hug me after i journey 7,162 miles down under.

the airport test.

it’s been almost a month since i wrote. anywhere. in my journal. on this blog. the words have not been there. the ideas have, but the words seem to be enjoying a bit of a vacation as i frantically soak in my settled surrounding. i jot the ideas down on my ever-growing list of stories i want to tell. themes that seem like they need exploring within my head.

i’ve been back in portland for a month. stopping for a month to regroup before becoming unsettled once more. taking up occupancy in an old hippie woman’s hawthorne home while she travels throughout spain for a month. the space is special. lived in but open and inviting. complete with two chickens, an infinitely affectionate cat, endless shelves of cookbooks, and a robot vacuum that comes alive three times a week. it feels good.

it feels good to be back in a space where things are steady and familiar. to slip right back into routine. yoga. climbing. cross fit. office life. coffee shops. catching up with the community i spent the past two and a half years cultivating in this city.

during the stationary moments that speckle my transience, i always find myself immersed in the idea of community. surrounded by the relationships that have imprinted my twenty-seven years.

it’s interesting to watch the evolution of your friendships. see which ones stay with you. which ones drift apart. which ones flow in and out of closeness.

every time i return from an adventure, i am immediately faced with an evaluation of my relationships. the thought spiral starts with one simple question:

who do i call to come pick me up from the airport?

for most people, you only have to ask yourself this question every few months or years even. but currently, i am faced with this question at least once a month. i scroll through my phone and think about who i know that i want to inconvenience.

i have deemed this process “the airport test.”

we have all kinds of relationships and friendships, but we don’t have too many people that pass the airport test. or at least i don’t.

the simple task transcends into an overflow of questions and judgments and a pretty complicated view of your investment in those surrounding you.

it’s a weird thing how we invent the responses of others. i would pick up almost anyone from the airport. someone i met last week or someone i have known for years. case in point: i offered to drive the lady whose house i am staying in to the airport if she didn’t have a ride. yet, when i landed in portland last month, i took a cab to my car because the three people i normally rely on were working.

now i know several people in portland. many of them would have picked me up from the airport i’m sure, but from my side of things, the comfort level was not there. so instead, i paid $40. i paid $40 to a stranger because i was too uncomfortable to possibly inconvenience someone i called a friend.

this simple friendship test presents itself in several other situations. who would you call to drive you to and from chemo? who would you ask if you needed to borrow money? who would you not have to bribe to help you move? who do you not care about inconveniencing? not because you don’t care, but because you know they care. you don’t assume, you fully know.

and those are the only people i call to pick me up from the airport.

they are the same people that i cannot wait to pick up from the airport. the ones that i want to park and go all the way inside for. stand at the exit point with a big hug and smile waiting for theirs in return.

i have been accused of throwing around the terms “friend” and “best friend” and “favorite” too frequently. everyone is your “best friend” sara.

i get it.

and all it takes is one scroll through my contacts in a moment of need to remind me how grateful i am for the people in my life who pass the airport test.